World Literacy DayWorld Literacy Day, created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), was observed on Sunday, September 9 to mark the importance of knowledge and the ability to read.Attendees during the World Literacy Day activityThe celebrations continued on Monday, as the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) held its formal ceremony at Grand Coastal hotel, where students were encouraged not just to eliminate illiteracy, but to recognise the importance of being bilingual.Commissioner Nicole Cole insisted that it is a good skill to possess with the movement of people in Guyana and the fact that the country is surrounded by people who speak a different language.In the secondary education system, Spanish, French and Portuguese are taught as part of the curriculum for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) examination.“I want to encourage everyone here to learn another language. Guyana is seated in South America, strategically located. We have Suriname, the Dutch. We have Brazil, the Portuguese and then we have Venezuela, the Spanish. It is important for us not only to be boxed in by one language, especially with the high influx of migration into our country by the Spanish-speaking people,” Cole expressed.Similar sentiments were shared by Member of Parliament, Dr Vindhya Persaud, who insisted that age should not limit one’s learning. Literacy, she noted, is significantly measured as a mechanism to increase confidence.“There is no shame in attending a class and learning how to read. For those of you who have parents and grandparents who cannot read, give them the gift of reading…Never use age as a barrier to learning and ensure that learning always remains accessible to all,” Persaud encouraged.She later added that men are still dominating the statistics for being illiterate. This calls for stronger approaches to ensure that youths complete their education.“As you talk about literacy, understand the ramifications of not being literate and understand too, that you can be…The world’s statistics show that men are outstripping women when it comes it being illiterate. So it leaves us in a conundrum what is happening. I think what needs to happen is that more focus must be placed in making sure that our young people not only go to school, but they stay in school,”Last year, it was revealed that that only 50 per cent of children in the hinterland communities attend secondary school after they would have graduated from the primary education programme.Additionally, only 75 per cent of children on the coastland are provided with the opportunity to complete their secondary education.September 8 was declared International Literacy Day by UNESCO on October 26, 1966 at 14th session of UNESCO’s general conference. It was celebrated for the first time in 1967 with the mission of highlighting the importance of literacy to individuals and society.Statistics show that approximately 17 per cent of people in the world are illiterate. Every year, the literacy rate increases by some four per cent.